#TBRChallenge: Short Reads January

By Christina|January 17, 2018|Blog, Book Challenges, Book Reviews, Reviews, Theatre Texts|2 comments

It’s Short Reads Month!

In 2018, I am participating in the TBR Challenge, hosted by Wendy at The Misadventures of Super Librarian.

The goal of the TBR Challenge is rather self-explanatory, read one book a month from the TBR pile. To participate, you just have to be on social media and use #TBRChallenge, particularly on the 3rd Wednesday of the month (today).

Each month has been assigned an optional theme. January’s theme is We Love Short Shorts! (shorter reads) and I have taken it as an opportunity to breeze through my TBR of playtexts and manga.

So far in January, I have read:

Tomcat, by James Rushbrooke 

2015 Papatango Prize winner.

Tomcat takes place in a not too distant future where diseases and disorders have been wiped out.  Jess is a young girl, an anomaly who slipped through the system and has spent most of her young life in a test facility while doctors study her disorder.

Tomcat questions the making of a psychopath, is it nature or nurture? If someone possesses all of the genetic markers for psychopathy, does that mean they’ll absolutely turn into a psychopath or are they made through their experiences and circumstances?

This was a thrilling yet unsettling reading, showing us what a potential science-focused future might look like with screening and a legal requirement to abort any child with any disease or disorder no matter the stage of pregnancy. At points, it was upsetting but for me, there was a curious lack of emotional reaction as a reader.

Boysby Ella Hickson (Playtext) 

‘Boys’ by Ella Hickson is about accepting change and taking the next step in life.
Boys uses a cast of characters graduating (some of them) from university and sets it in their final week of flat sharing. The play explores the grey area between childhood and adulthood and the uncertainties they face. The four new graduates choose to celebrate their impending adulthood with the party to end it all. Tongues loosen and truths are spilt.

‘Boys’ had the potential to move me but missed the mark. Of the four flatmates, Cam’s arc felt the most complete. He goes from being a nervous wreck to facing his fears, to deciding to give up on everything he’s worked for since childhood, to regret. In one drug-induced stupid moment, he threw away his chance at a musical career through fear and almost instantly regrets it.
It was a good read and I would love to have seen it live.

Tokyo Mew Mew, Vol.1, by Mia Ikumi 

Ichigo is on a date with her crush when she is caught in the crosshairs of an attempt to save the planet from alien invaders.  Her DNA is merged with the DNA of an almost extinct wildcat. Four other girls were also caught in the accident and now Ichigo must find them and introduce them to the “Mew Mew Project.” 

I picked this up out of curiosity having watched the English dubbed anime adaptation, Mew Mew Power in my teens. It was interesting to compare the two mediums but ultimately this was a boring read that I don’t intend to continue with.

Codename: Sailor V, Vol 1, by Naoko Takeuchi 

Codename: Sailor V was Naoko Takeuchi’s first vision for the Sailor Moon Universe. In this volume, Minako Aino (Mina in the English Dub Sailor Moon), a normal 13-year-old schoolgirl, meets Artemis, a talking white cat, who proclaims that she is Sailor V(enus). Using a magic pen to transform, Sailor V fights the evil agents of the Dark Agency as she strives to protect the earth.

I picked this up again out of curiosity, I wanted to see how the original story differed from Sailor Moon which came later. It was actually a thrilling read but I found it annoying at times that Mina’s character, mannerisms and interests, was essentially that of Serena (Sailor Moon).
I own the next volume so will very likely continue just to see where it might lead.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a drama of desire, avarice and deception set in the American Deep South. It was first staged on Broadway in 1955 and portrays an American story of brothers vying for their dying southern father’s inheritance. Cat looks takes a look at family tensions, suppressed sexuality, and an obsession with not-so-secret scandal.

Big Daddy’ Pollitt, the richest cotton planter in the Mississippi Delta, is about to celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday. His two sons have returned home for the occasion: Gooper, his wife and children, Brick, an ageing football hero who has turned to drink, and his feisty wife Maggie. As the hot summer evening unfolds, the veneer of happy family life and Southern gentility gradually slips away as unpleasant truths emerge and greed, lies, jealousy and suppressed sexuality threaten to reach boiling point.

I first read this play in school for my English GCSE so I had read it before but as I’m sure with most young teenagers forced to study playtexts for examinations, I couldn’t remember a single thing about the play. I decided I should read it again with fresh adult eyes and I wasn’t disappointed.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is one of those plays which does subtext very well and the gradual unravelling of the subtext is expertly woven into the unravelling of individual characters, making them viler as the play progresses and heightening the drama.
1955 Pulitzer Prize winner.

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  1. What an interesting choice of reading an assortment of playtexts. The variety sounds fun. Looking forward to what you pick next month. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Dorine. I was hoping to get through more plays but decided I’d rather read Practical Magic and some others.

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